Firth's OT Winner Seals Carolina Comeback Win
In another high-scoring, penalty-filled affair, this time the Carolina Thunderbirds prevailed over the Port Huron Prowlers. 2:45 into the overtime period, on a delayed Prowlers penalty, a diving desperation play by Gus Ford to poke the puck to Tucker Firth gave him the time and space to wire a wrist shot past Wyatt Hoflin and net the Thunderbirds a 6-5 victory. It was Firth's first goal of the season and first as a Thunderbird.
Not only that, but three huge standings points the way of Carolina after the two teams came in tied in the Continental division. In the season series finale between the two evenly matched rivals, those standings points will matter even more come springtime when playoff seeding is determined.
Boris Babik made multiple huge saves down the stretch to keep the Thunderbirds in it, stopping 22 of the 27 shots he faced. Wyatt Hoflin's stellar play in net kept Port Huron kicking too, stopping a whopping 38 of 44 shots faced.
Port Huron lead 1-0 after the first before Carolina launched a full frontal assault on the opposing goal, scoring four goals in the second period. Two came from Petr Panacek, who netted his first hat trick back with the Thunderbirds when he scored in the third. Port Huron was not to be outdone, storming back and scoring four unanswered goals of their own to take a 5-4 lead into the third. Panacek's third of the night tied the game at five, and Carolina killed off a 5 minute major penalty assessed to him that carried over into the overtime.
The Thunderbirds now head to Baton Rouge, LA and Biloxi, MI for a two-city, three-game road set against the Mississippi Sea Wolves. The first game will be a neutral site affair at Raisin Cane's River Center on Thursday night. Puck drop is set for 7ET.